Expert tips to becoming a master morel mushroom hunter

3 expert tips to finding and enjoying these edible delicacies.

morel mushroomSpring is sprouting. That means morel mushroom hunting season is here!

It’s the perfect excuse to get outside and find these coveted edible delicacies.

Heartland Weekend caught up with AJ Hendershott, a naturalist at the Missouri Department of Conservation, to find out how to become an expert mushroom hunter.

Of course, the next step is actually finding them.

Good news: we have the answer!

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says morel mushrooms can be found around dead Elms, Poplar trees, Old Ash and Apple trees, and various other places.

They love rainy cool nights, followed by warmer temperatures.

Typically, they start popping up in February and can be spotted through June. April is usually the best month to go hunting.

Even better: IDNR is hosting a special class at Giant City State Park to help you find morel mushrooms.

On Saturday, April 23, park volunteer, photographer Gretchen Steele will host “The Mysterious Morel Mushroom” at the park from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

She’ll lead groups out into the field for a small hike for a chance to learn what makes a good mushroom habitat. Chances are good, you might even spot a few.

Register now by calling 618-457-4836.


Don’t confuse true morels (Morchella spp.) with false morels (Gyromitra spp.), which can kill you. Don’t eat any wild mushroom unless you’ve identified it as a safe edible and have cooked it thoroughly.

The only way to tell if a mushroom is edible is by positive identification. CLICK HERE for a comprehensive field guide to what you can and can’t eat.

On your first hunt, it’s a great idea to go with an experienced morel hunter.

Private guided mushroom hunts with a certified mycologist are offered at the Garden of the Gods Outpost and through Timber Ridge Outpost and Cabins.

Morel Mushrooms: Where to find these edible delicacies